The governments of Nigeria and India have rekindled their bilateral relationship at the third Indo-Africa ICT Expo in Lagos, with an agreement that “Nigeria will get a huge technology transfer of over $4bn from India.”
Over 3,000 delegates from across Africa and India witnessed the inauguration of the technology conference, in which the Indian government said it was seeking stronger ties with Nigeria in particular, and had therefore offered its assistance in all areas of technology.
The Co-chairman of India’s Telecom Equipment and Services Export Promotion Council, Sanjay Nayak, said India remained the ideal partner for Africa, “as it shares the same vision and mission for technology growth.”
According to him, India has developed quality technologies well-crafted to meet the needs of countries in Africa, “and which they can leverage at competitive price.
India, Nayak said, “has the lowest telecom tariff rates in the world as a result of its cutting edge technologies.”
He said, “We have end-to-end solutions, which are well suited for African needs.”
The India’s Minister of Communications, Manoj Sinha, said the third edition of the Indo-Africa ICT Expo in Lagos had special significance, not only for India and Nigeria, but also for Africa.
He said that the success of the first two editions held in Kenya gave the organisers the confidence to shift the focus to West Africa.
“I strongly believe that the vast experience gained by India in setting up the governments, as well as the private business enterprises in Africa, can leverage an ICT infrastructure. To explore synergies on the ground in the ICT, more than 50 ICT companies from India are participating in this ICT expo,” he said.
The minister said that Indian companies had developed the engineering capabilities and experience with smart innovations.
“They have the ability to train employees at scale; innovative business models at low cost. This makes them well positioned to support the booming African ICT sector,” he said.
According to the Indian minister, India and Africa have similar demographic and ICT usage profile and should therefore work together to achieve a common goal of establishing digital economy in respective countries.
“We are fully committed to share our ICT experiences, expertise and software skills with other countries in the developing world. India is also willing to explore opportunities of financing the emerging opportunities,” Sinha added.
The Nigerian Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, who led the ministers from India, Ghana and top officials from Ethiopia, Rwanda and other African countries to inaugurate the conference, expressed the country’s readiness to partner India to achieve a digital economy for Nigeria.
Shittu allayed fears of stakeholders in the ICT industry about the Indians coming to hijack the industry.
He said, “The coming of the Indians was sequel to discussions he had with the Indian business community in Geneva early in the year, where the country promised to invest $4bn in the Nigerian Information Technology industry.”
As part of India’s commitment to Nigeria, Shittu said India was also financing a solar-based rural electrification project that would cover 1,000 rural areas in Nigeria.
The minister, however, used the opportunity to invite Indians to invest in key Nigerian ICT projects, including the establishment of the ICT university and an ICT development bank to cater to the specific financing needs of the industry in Africa’s biggest market.